After visiting her parents and exorcising some serious emotional demons Joanne decided to visit the mall again. There was something about being surrounded by people who wouldn’t pay attention to her normally made her feel quite comfortable. The crowds of people going about their boring days and living out their boring lives just felt normal to her. So she sat on a bench and watched people walk by.
She saw a young couple with their child walking into a toy store. She saw an old man with a walker smiling as he perused women’s underwear in a lingerie shop. She saw a young man wearing a green shirt with a university logo on it looking at video games. The young couple bought some toys. The old man made some employees extremely uncomfortable. The man in the university shirt looked at Joanne, smiled, then looked away. This made Joanne quite happy. It was nice to have someone smile at her again. So nice that it took her about a minute to realize that this subtle moment was actually an incredibly important and shocking development.
“Wait,” she said to herself, “What the hell?”
She stood up and looked at the man in the video game store. He sighed after having stared at some games for several minutes, turned, and walked through the back wall of the store. Joanne’s jaw dropped. It was another dead person. Another ghost. She’d found someone else, and he just walked through a wall in the opposite direction of her.
“Ahhh, crap,” she said to herself as she started to run into the store.
If she ran fast enough, maybe she could catch him. She could figure out if there were others. Maybe she wasn’t alone in this strange situation after all. Maybe she could do more with her life now than just sway and drool in empty downtown bus stops. So she ran through the store, straight through the back wall. She ran through shelves full of back stocked video games. She ran out the back of the mall into a parking lot. She looked around herself and couldn’t see the man anywhere. She turned around and ran back inside. She proceeded to do a futile rush through every store she could see. She saw the cute little couple buying toys for their child. She saw the creepy old man flirting with the far too young girls in the lingerie shop. But she couldn’t find the ghost in the university shirt anywhere. She slowed to a stop when she ran out the other side of the building. She put her head in her hands and let out an exasperated screech.
“Oh, come ON!” She screamed to herself.
She wasn’t going to give up this easily, though. She knew what she had to do. She was going to find this man. She was going to ask him some questions. She was going to find out why the hell people like them got stuck on earth all alone with nothing to do. So she set off to the university feeling determination for the first time since she had died.